Harshvardhan arrives for a meeting with lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Dec. 12: The BJP has declined to form the government in Delhi, saying it does not have the numbers despite being the single largest party.
Chief ministerial candidate Harshvardhan called on lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung this evening and repeated his party’s stated position that it would sit in the Opposition or fight another election rather than resort to “poaching on other parties and horse-trading” to rustle up a majority.
In the 70-member Assembly, the BJP has 32 legislators, four short of the majority mark of 36. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has 28 members. The Congress has eight.
Jung invited the AAP convener to discuss government formation after the BJP had refused the offer, but the new party was sticking to its stand of neither taking nor extending support.
“Arvind got a call from the lieutenant governor, after Harshvardhan declined to form the government. We have been given a time for Saturday at 10.30am for a meeting with the lieutenant governor,” AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia told PTI. “We are clear on our stand. We would be sticking to our stand that we would neither take support to form the government nor support the Congress or the BJP.”
Sources said senior leaders would meet tomorrow to discuss the future course of action.
Harshvardhan told The Telegraph that Jung had been directed by President Pranab Mukherjee to start exploring the prospect of government formation by first inviting the BJP.
“I was given to understand that if we had staked claim to form a government, we would have got seven days to prove our majority. But horse-trading or weaning away members of another party is not in the BJP’s culture. We will continue to serve the people, either by sitting in the Opposition or whatever else. Being in power is not our priority.”
Asked if the BJP had approached Kejriwal’s party or whether the AAP had tapped the BJP, Harshvardhan said: “The question does not arise.”
He said the AAP had made it clear it would neither support any party, nor take any party’s help. “Nevertheless, we will be happy to see a government in place. The AAP has 28 members and the Congress has offered support. It would be good if they together put up a government,” he said.
“My regret is that people have invested so much in this election, we are the biggest party and yet we are not able to help them.”
Asked if this scenario could affect the BJP’s chances of getting a majority if there was another election soon, he replied: “No, there’s no question of giving a negative signal.”
The BJP has started a seat-wise analysis to identify where things went wrong. It has decided to retain Harshvardhan as its chief ministerial face, in case there is an early poll.